Swiss ball training has gained popularity of epic proportions in recent years.
When performing exercises on unstable surfaces the muscles of the abdominals and lower back are forced too stabilize and help
balance the body. This in turn will improve trunk stability, posture, and balance.
Experimenters at Springfield College investigated the effects of core stability and balance exercises
vs. conventional flat surface (floor) exercises in untrained women. Thirty female students were randomly assigned either
Swiss ball training (n=15) that consisted of back extensions and sit-ups or performing floor training (n=15) with the same
exercises. The study was a 5 week program in which sessions lasted 15 minutes each. The 1st week consisted of 3 sets of 15
reps, followed by 2nd week 4 sets of 15 reps, followed by 3rd and 4th week of 4 sets of 25
EMG recordings of abdominals and lower back muscles were taken pre and post.
Unilateral stance balance test was performed by having the individual subject’s maintain balance while having both eyes
closed and one knee flexed at 60 degrees.
Results: Mean positive
changes were significantly higher for Swiss subjects based on EMG recordings of abdominals and lower back muscles compared
to floor subjects (P=0.04)
The recorded balance time after training was significantly
higher in Swiss ball subjects compared to floor subjects (P=0.00). The unstable
trial led to greater gains in stability.(The Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research: Vol. 17 No, 4).
I admit, I was skeptical at first but that soon changed, after performing one set of dumbbell chest presses on a Swiss ball. I felt muscles contracting in places, I didn’t even realize existed! I personally recommend the Bosu DSL Trainer (Swiss ball) made by Bosu. The same company also makes the Bosu (resembles
a cut in ½ blue Swiss ball).
The Bosu has been a part of my daily exercise regime for years now. Simply put there are a plethora of movements you can perform on
it. This is a bonus, for any body who is tired of the same mundane workout, day after day.
I still own my very first Bosu and DSL from 3 yrs ago. I put them through the ringer with non
stop clients day and night. They’re worth their weight in gold!
The most important aspect for me as a trainer and fitness enthusiast is the fun and versatility
these gems bring to me and to my client’s workouts.